Titel: Clostridium difficile (Hall and O'Toole 1935) Prévot 1938 (Approved Lists 1980), Peptoclostridium difficile Yutin and Galperin 2013 and Clostridioides difficile (Hall and O'Toole 1935) Lawson et al. 2016, three names but one taxon and the problem of which one to use
Art: Abstractautor
Session: Workshop 03
Diagnostic Microbiology (StAG DV)

Referent: Brian J. Tindall (Braunschweig)

Abstract - Text

An important pathogen is an anaerobic, Gram-positive, spore forming rod that has been known since 1938 as Clostridium difficile. With the realisation that the taxonomy of the genus Clostridium is in need of extensive revision various changes have been made in the nomenclature of organisms that were previously included in that genus. Clostridium difficile is no exception, with Yutin and Galperin proposing a new genus Peptoclostridium in 2013 based on genome analysis, resulting in the creation of the name Peptoclostridium difficile. However, the name was not validly published based on the Rules of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes, leaving the way open for Lawson et al. to propose an alternative name, Clostridioides difficile initially in the journal Anaerobe and was validly published based on the Rules of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes in 2016. One now encounters three names in the literature or databases, Clostridium difficile, Peptoclostridium difficile and Clostridioides difficile. It is not uncommon to find different names being used in different articles in the same volume of a single scientific journal. Some authors appear to be aware that these three names refer to the same taxon, while in other instances it is unclear whether authors are aware of the two most recent changes. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control primarily uses the name Clostridium difficile without reference to the others. The Robert Koch Institute uses Clostridium difficile, but with reference to Clostridioides difficile and the CDC, Atlanta, USA primarily uses Clostridium difficile, although the name Clostridioides difficile also appears on their website. Given the importance of this organism in the clinical environment clarity is needed in the use of names as well as documenting the inter-relationship between the three. The Rules of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes provides the mechanisms by which one can link different names, but is a text with which few are familiar and even fewer implement. Properly understanding the way names are created and applied in a changing field of knowledge and classification is a key element to making sure that information can be correctly and efficiently transferred between staff in the medial or research environment as well as between different organisations or different databases that will prevent misunderstandings or lead to potentially life threatening situations.